TOPCORP: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the costs?

There are no charges to attend one of the regular workshops we offer at the three universities. Through the sponsorship of one of our partnering universities, participants from the continental U.S. may also have your meals, lodging and travel covered. If your agency is required to pay your travel, just let us know, and you can make those arrangements yourself. (If you are interested in having a workshop hosted at a different location for a number of participants, please contact Dori Coy: dcoy at

How do I apply?

Nominees for workshops should be sent to Hilary Olson: holson at Once your nomination has been processed, you will be contacted with information on your acceptance status, including an online registration document if your nomination is accepted.

I plan to fly. Who will book my ticket?

Participants are sponsored through the three universities. Your travel and hotel will be booked and paid for through our centralized travel at The University of Texas at Austin. Contact Dori Coy: dcoy at

Who is funding the program?

The initial development of the training program was funded by a gift from ExxonMobil and General Electric to Colorado School of Mines, The Pennsylvania State University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Ongoing development and implementation funding is provided by gifts to the three universities from ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes General Electric, the Environmental Defense Fund, API, Apache, Chevron, Encana, Noble, Occidental, Seneca, and the Mitchell Foundation. The universities designate a 'gift' when there are no specific required deliverables, no memoranda of agreement, nor any contracts as part of the funds transferred to the university.

Who selects the curriculum and ensures the content is balanced in approach?

The curriculum is chosen by university faculty and researchers at the three different universities, including those with expertise in environmental sciences, groundwater and surface water management, hydrogeology, structural geology, geomechanics, petroleum geology, reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, geophysics and technical communications. Through a TOPCORP nationwide survey of oil and gas regulatory agency personnel, we have been able to focus on the information most needed by new state oil and gas regulators.

What role do funding corporations or other entities have in setting the detailed curriculum content?

None, the detailed curriculum is at the sole discretion of the three universities (principal investigators and instructors).

Who oversees the program?

The program is led by a principal investigator at each of the three universities: Jim Ladlee (PSU), Dr. Hilary Olson (UT), and Dr. Azra Tutuncu (CSM). This Leadership Team oversees the program.

Who makes decisions about attendees invited and/or selected to attend?

The Leadership Team makes these decisions.

What other groups, agencies or companies are working with you on this project?

The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission is working with us to ensure our training meets the needs of state regulatory agencies who oversee oil and gas operations throughout the United States. By partnering with the IOGCC we are moving towards a nationwide best-practice standard in oil and gas regulatory performance.